We tried 5 best OBS alternatives for video recording - Here are our thoughts

Sendspark, #1 video platform for business
November 5 2021

If OBS makes you SOB, you’re in luck! We’ve compared the five best OBS alternatives to help you choose the ideal video recording software for your needs. 

Don’t get me wrong: even with the least sexy product name out there, Open Broadcaster Software, or OBS, is a pretty amazing package. And it’s not just for the gamers and YouTubers who swear by it. 

Today, we’re going to inspect OBS’ video recording strengths and weaknesses, to give you an idea of who it’ll dazzle and who should be looking for OBS alternatives. 

Then we’ll look at some other video recording tools that are killing it when it comes to use cases that OBS falls down on

They are:

  • Sendspark - For Sales and Marketing Video Messaging
  • Bandicam - For Slicker Gaming Recording
  • Loom - For an Easy Basic Recording Experience
  • Screencast-O-Matic - For Editing on a Budget
  • ShareX - For Open-Source Screen Capture

Why look for OBS alternatives?

In case you didn’t know, OBS Studio is an open-source screen capture and video platform that can not only record but also broadcast live

OBS Platform Screenshot

What OBS is great at

OBS Studio is particularly popular in the gaming community because it lets you compose video from multiple sources, mix your audio, customize hotkeys to control the recorder in full-screen mode, and then stream it live over Twitch and similar platforms or upload it to video sharing sites. 

It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and because it’s Open Source, OBS Studio is free, it doesn’t add watermarks, and there’s no length limit on recordings

For a free tool, it has a crazy number of customization options

So why would anyone not want to use OBS Studio?🤨

Where OBS falls short

Being open-source comes with some big downsides: 

  • There’s no customer support function at all, although there is a very active and helpful user community
  • It also means that there is no vetting of the many plugins available, which can be a performance and security issue
  • Major updates are slow and infrequent, which means OBS is prone to bugs. For example, their FAQ page features workarounds for known errors like the commonly-experienced “black screen” problem. Any proprietary SaaS would fix this rather than publishing workarounds!

Plus, as the app home page below shows, OBS Studio is pretty intimidating for beginners

OBS UI

Before you can record anything, you need to configure input sources individually - screen, browser, webcam, audio input, etc. And the user interface is not particularly welcoming:

OBS Configure Input Sources

As downloadable software, OBS Studio works offline but that also means it can’t be used on a lot of devices, including Chromebooks. 

And unless you’re live streaming, the only way to share video files is to download them and send them in another app. 

Who is OBS for?

  • Gamers and live streamers
  • Open-source software fans and developers
  • Experienced video creators who want the greatest customization for the minimum cost!

If that’s not you: read on!

OBS Alternatives #1: Sendspark for Sales and Marketing Video Messaging

Sendspark is a screen recording and video messaging tool that’s been designed by marketers for the particular needs of sales, marketing, and customer success teams. It’s focused on making great-looking videos quickly, and incorporating them into customer communication workflows. 

What is Sendspark great at?

Sendspark has thought of everything when it comes to using video in messaging

If you’re looking to leverage the power of video in your email or social media communications (and check out these impressive stats for the reasons why you should be!), then sign up for a free Sendspark account today

Sendspark Platform Screenshot

Here’s why:

  • Sendspark has probably the most user-friendly UI of all screen recorders and sharing apps. With the Chrome extension, you’re always only a click or so away from recording yourself and your screen - making it ideal for capturing thoughts on-the-go
  • Sendspark will automatically create an animated GIF preview of your video for you to add to emails - like the one below. This is a great way to get around the problem that most email clients do not support inline video, forcing you to send links instead

Sendspark Animated GIF

  • Although some other apps provide this feature, Sendspark goes further - allowing you to customize the preview with a logo (shown above) and a caption. 
  • Cloud-hosted videos you create are displayed on highly-customizable landing pages (with tracked analytics). Sendspark has provided far more options for making these look great than other products - up to an including offering CNAME as a totally bespoke option
  • The Request Video tool lets you ask contacts to record and send you a video message - and it doesn’t require them to download a thing!
  • Sendspark makes it really easy to integrate your videos into most marketing automation platforms, like Hubspot, MailChimp, Pipedrive, and Customer.io
  • On the premium version, Sendspark lets you create and upload templates that can be used again and again for multi-video campaigns or for personalizing frequently-sent videos - saving you time and effort

Sendspark Video Recording Templates

If you use video as a messaging tool - and why wouldn’t you? 😊 - then Sendspark is ideal for you. It’s simple and quick to use, and free to get started. 

Comparing Sendspark and OBS

  • While Sendspark has far less functionality than OBS (webcam and screen sources only, no live streaming, little video setup customization, etc), it does the things it does really well - and is exceptionally easy to use
  • To share videos created in OBS, you have to stream or download/upload them. Sendspark turns video into a communications tool
  • While OBS has no video or time constraints at all (because there’s no cloud hosting) Sendspark has a free package that gives you 30 videos per month with no time restrictions. Loom, Screencast-O-Matic, and Bandicam plus most other alternatives have time restrictions for non-paying users
  • Sendspark is robust, fast, and constantly updated. As a SaaS product, it doesn’t suffer from the bugs and glitches that OBS is notorious for

If you want to film yourself gaming or set up very unusual video configurations, choose OBS over Sendspark. But if you want to take advantage of the power of asynchronous video messaging - particularly in sales, marketing, and customer success settings - then Sendspark has been designed precisely for your needs. 

OBS Alternatives #2: Bandicam for Slicker Gaming Recording

Bandicam is a lightweight screen recorder that’s just as popular with gamers as OBS, because of its focus on high-quality video capture

What is Bandicam great at?

Gamers love Bandicam because it records video at a whopping 480 FPS rate (although you’ll need a pretty powerful machine to make the most of that). 

And while it has many of the same features as OBS, it’s a lot easier to get to grips with. It has three main recording modes - screen, gaming, and device - and those presets are a big help in getting set up. 

Bandicam Screen Recording UI

It supports a webcam overlay in screen recordings with chroma key effects:

So, if you’re a novice wanting to record your gaming sessions, Bandicam is definitely an OBS alternative you should consider. 

Bandicam has a few other cool features:

  • You can schedule it to start and end recording sessions at predefined times
  • Unlike OBS, it provides in-recording pointer and effects tools
  • Great editing features
  • Advanced screenshot functionality

Comparing Bandicam and OBS

  • Bandicam is Windows-only, whereas OBS runs on Mac and Linux too
  • While there is a free Bandicam tier, all videos are watermarked and limited to 10 minutes in length. A license is only $39.99, but OBS is totally free
  • Bandicam doesn’t support live streaming
  • Bandicam does have customer support, as well as a help center and user community
  • While still far from easy to use, Bandicam’s interface is far less daunting than OBS’

Bandicam is a direct competitor to OBS in the gaming video space. If that’s what you’re about, and quality, ease of use, and support are your priorities (and you use a Windows machine!) then Bandicam is certainly a great OBS alternative. 

OBS Alternatives #3: Loom for an Easy Basic Recording Experience

Loom is a browser-based screen and webcam recording, editing, and messaging tool. When you sign up, you get a 15-day free trial of their Business package, which reverts to the free-forever version if you don’t upgrade in that time. 

What is Loom great at?

Loom is very easy to use for creating videos fast, giving them a little polish, and sharing them. 

It has very similar sharing options to Sendspark at a basic level. But when you dig in, Loom is not really optimized for sales and marketing communications in the same way:

  • No templating to help you create multiple videos in the same format
  • No Request Video function 
  • Integration of video with marketing automation platforms has not been prioritized

Nevertheless, Loom is a great all-around screen recorder. From just $8 a month it offers:

  • In-video drawing tools 
  • Removal of filler words
  • Transcriptions and subtitles (although the former is a beta feature)
  • Custom branding and landing page calls-to-action
  • Some editing tools - but not as many as Screencast-O-Matic or Bandicam

There is a free version, but users are restricted to 25 videos a month of no more than 5 minutes

Comparing Loom and OBS

  • Like Sendspark and Screencast-O-Matic, Loom has a browser extension - meaning that you don’t have to download software to use it
  • Loom videos are hosted in the cloud, so you can view analytics for embedded and linked media
  • Very solid software, that is constantly updated. Not buggy at all
  • Loom doesn’t support multiple sources beyond screen and webcam
  • Loom is not really aimed at a gaming market. It’s much more focused on video for communications and training

Loom Video Recording UI

 

Loom as a good OBS alternative really depends on your use case. If you want to create and share videos quickly and spontaneously, it’s much easier to use. The flip side of that ease is that there are not many features to learn. 

There are better editing tools (eg Screencast-O-Matic), better communication tools (eg Sendspark), and tools that give you far more flexibility (eg OBS), but Loom remains a favorite because it does those things it does so well. 

OBS Alternatives #4: Screencast-O-Matic for Editing on a Budget

Screencast-O-Matic is a downloadable screen recorder and editing tool, which is very easy to use and ideal for making videos quickly. While the free version can’t compete with what Sendspark and Loom have to offer, the premium version is cheap and has some great features. 

What is Screencast-O-Matic great at?

The best feature about Screencast-O-Matic is the editing capabilities it offers at a very low price

Screencast-o-matic UI

For as little as $1.65 per month (billed yearly), you get the ability to:

  • Add overlays and images, music and sound effects - from an extensive stock library, or uploaded yourself
  • Zoom in and add pointers to highlight screen areas
  • Combine recordings into single files

Like Sendspark and Loom, Screencast-O-Matic offers analytics from videos embedded and linked videos hosted on its cloud platform. 

It’s a great tool for educators and has been widely used for creating online course materials and lectures. 

Comparing Screencast-O-Matic and OBS

  • On the free version, Screencast-O-Matic restricts users to 15-minute videos - OBS has no such restrictions
  • Screencast-O-Matic has good editing capabilities (although these are minimal on the free version)
  • Screencast-O-Matic has a cloud hosting element that lets you upload videos from elsewhere, but storage is restricted to 25GB
  • On the paid version, Screencast-O-Matic has subtitling and captioning options. These can be created manually in OBS, but it’s a time-consuming challenge
  • Although there are a lot of restrictions on the free version, Screencast-O-Matic is a cheap tool

Cheap Video Recording Tool

Of the tools on this list, Screencast-O-Matic competes most directly with Loom rather than OBS. 

It’s a solid video recording tool that is easy to use but feels a bit old-fashioned compared to Loom and Sendspark - it is also much slower to process downloads than either of these options. 

OBS Alternatives #5: ShareX for Open-Source Screen Capture

ShareX is a free, open-source screen capture and recording tool that gives you loads of customization options - just like OBS - but with a few notable differences. 

ShareX Screen Recording UI

What is ShareX great at?

ShareX is great at capturing screenshots and recordings:

  • It gives users loads of capture options (full-screen, windows, custom regions, and active window)
  • A really useful one is scrolling capture, which records as you scroll down a page
  • It has OCR capabilities for extracting text from images
  • It features an advanced image editor for tweaking your captures
  • Footage can be saved as video or converted into an animated GIF

However, ShareX doesn’t support webcam recording at all. So if you want to create videos with a personal touch for communication or training purposes, you will want to look elsewhere. 

What ShareX is great at is...sharing. It has preset options for sharing or uploading your captured files to more than 80 different destinations

ShareX Video Uploading UI

Comparing ShareX and OBS

  • Like Bandicam, ShareX is Windows-only
  • As an open-source product, ShareX suffers from some of the same problems OBS has in that respect (eg known problems that require workarounds - such as incompatibility with AVG antivirus software)
  • ShareX records only one single source at a time - it doesn’t even incorporate a webcam. OBS can handle multiple different sources
  • The options for sharing captured files are very extensive in ShareX, which is something OBS lacks

ShareX is not an easy tool to make the most of. It’s tricky to use the advanced features and is primarily aimed at developers. Indeed, as an open-source product, it’s likely to appeal to people who want to get under the hood and customize. 

But as it lacks webcam capture, ShareX is probably not your best bet as a video recorder. 

Wrapping Up

So there you have it! 😉

Screen recording can be used for an almost endless variety of purposes, so it’s important to have your use cases in mind - and know which tool fits the bill - before you decide. 

We hope we’ve made that a little easier for you with this blog!

Sendspark makes it easy to create or import videos and distribute them across email, social, and the web. Sign up now if you want to start recording and sharing videos for free. 

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